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Full text of "Home Rule & the Labour Market. : A dialogue between William, a Home Ruler, and John, a Unionist"

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Irish Question, No. 23.] 







J". — I see that Mr. Wilson has been telling the Durham miners 
that Home Kule will keep Irish competition out of the English 
labour market ; and that, therefore, Home Eule will be a blessing 
to the English working-man. Why does Mr. Wilson think 
Home Eule will do this ? 

W. — Because he says that Home Kule will make Ireland so 
prosperous that she will be able to afford work for all her own 

J. — And why do you feel so certain Home Kule will do this ? 

W. — Of course it will. When people are contented and happy 
they are sure to be prosperous. 

J. — Will they be contented to pay the immense tribute that is 
going to be imposed upon them ? Will they be contented to pay 
the interest on the £113,000,000 which will be wanted to buy out 
those landlords who they have always said don't deserve any- 
thing at all ? Will they be content to pay for a civil and judicial 
service, and police twice over, once to act and once by way of 
compensation ? Will they be content to bear a share of that 
National Debt which they declare was incurred not in their 
interests, but rather against their interests ? Will they be con- 
tent to contribute to an army and navy which the English 
Home Rulers are always boasting can be used against Ireland 
when necessary? 

W. — Yes. I think they will feel the sum you call tribute & 
very reasonable contribution towards the expenses of the Empire. 
Besides, when they have developed the resources of Ireland it 
won't be a very large proportion of their wealth. 

J. — But do you know how they propose to develop the re- 
sources of Ireland ? 

W. — Oh, I suppose by patient industry. 

J". — No, I fear not; but by employing the worn-out dodges of 
Protection. Those who know best say that since the Bill will 
not let them impose customs duties, they are going back to the 
good old system of bounties, a system which, you may remember 


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was a favourite with Grattan's Parliament. There will be 
bounties, out of the tax-payers' moneys, paid to all kinds of 
manufactures. Besides that, they are eager to begin great 
drainage and improvement works which will never pay. What 
will be the result of all this ? Poverty for Ireland. We English 
have learnt the lessons of Free Trade well enough to know that 
such fostering of industries and such schemes of public works 
have only one end — Financial Bum. The whole country will be 
sunk in the depths of misery and destitution, and we shall 
be deluged, not with the ordinary number of Irish workmen, but 
with a double or a treble tide. Home Bule must infallibly make 
Ireland poorer, and the poorer Ireland is, the more her people 
will be forced on our shores in search of work. I think I can 
illustrate the truth of this by what is beginning even now. You 
know in these days you can get no great employment for Labour 
without Capital. You know, too, that Capital is shy of experi- 
ments in government. What capitalists, do you think, are going 
to put money into Ireland if Mr. Healy or Mr. O'Brien is Irish 
Chancellor of the Exchequer ? Not one. All Irish Securities are 
falling. Some have fallen 19 per cent, already, and people who 
have money in Ireland are beginning to get it out of the 
country. If this is so merely on the threat of Home Bale, 
what will happen on the actual establishment of a Parliameii 
in Dublin ? 

W. — Oh, I think that is a scare of yours. 

J. — Well, then, if you are not satisfied, look at it in this wa 
The landlords are all afraid of Home Bule, and will leave Ireland 
when they have got their share of the £113,000,000. 

W. — Stop a minute. I don't go in for the Land Bill ; that 
won't pass. 

J. — Excuse me ; it will. Mr. Gladstone has said — has he not? — 
that the two Bills are ''inseparable." You don't suppose that 
Mr. Gladstone' will go back from his word, do you ? 

W. — Well, no ; I don't think or wish that, of course. 

J. — We may take it, then, that the landlords will all b< 
bought out; for if Home Bule passes, the Conservatives will 
join with the Moderate Liberals to pass the Land Bill. So then 
the rent of Ireland will, with very few exceptions, go out of 
Ireland. Now, in a country like Ireland this will mean that a 
vast number of Irishmen wishing to find employment will h; 
to follow this money into England. Labour competition, begun 
in one place, will be felt in all; and I dare assert with absolute 

confidence that Home Rule, instead of withdrawing 
Irishmen from the English labour market, will, 
in a very short time, have sent down wages and 
injured the prospects of labour in half the trades 
in England. 

Published by the Liberal Committee for the Maintenance of the 

Legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland,, 

35, Spring Gardens, S.\Y.